referee must know where the puck is at all times. Therefore, whenever the
referee loses sight of the puck, play is to be stopped and the face-off
held at the point where the play was stopped, unless some other rule
I Had An Open Net!”
many times during a season does a referee hear this complaint? You
wouldn’t want to know.
at some point during a game, and usually during a critical time when one
of the teams is trying to tie or win the match, the puck is shot on net
and it hits the goalie right in the chest.
The goalie makes it look like he has the puck in his chest pad and
is acting as though he is waiting for the referee to blow the whistle to
stop the play. Just as the
referee blows his whistle a player of the attacking team appears out of
nowhere and shoots the puck into the net.
But because the referee blew his whistle a split second before the
puck went into the net, the goal is not allowed.
The players start to argue that the puck was free and that it
should be a goal. Even though the referee may be thinking the same thing, he
cannot allow the goal because the play was stopped upon the blowing his
whistle. The good referees
will even admit to it being their fault, “My fault boys, I lost sight of
the puck”, but there is not much that they can do about it after the
this example the puck trickled out of the goalie (who by the way also
thought that he had the puck) and was lying on the ice just on the other
side of the goalie where the referee was unable to see the puck still free
for the players to play it. As
the rule clearly states, the referee is to stop the play as soon as he
loses sight of the puck. So
when the referee thinks that the goalie has the puck covered and the
referee is unable to see the puck anymore, he will blow the whistle.
reason for the Referee not being able to see the puck is fairly simple. He
is not the only person on the ice and he cannot see through players like
Superman. The referee’s
view of the puck gets obstructed throughout the game as soon as one player
skates between the referee and the puck.
Also, the referee is positioned on the sides of the ice close to
the boards. This positioning
allows him to keep most of the players on the ice in his view at all times
but it does not allow the referee to have a good view of the puck at all
times, especially when the puck is on the other side of players.
are told to ‘Get to the Net’ whenever the play is around the net.
This means that the referee is to get as close to the net as
possible while still keeping his own safety in mind.
The referee does not want to get so close that he becomes part of
the play or gets hit by an errant stick or puck, but he must try to get himself in a position so that he can see the
puck and most of the players at all times.
For the most part a referee will have no trouble doing this, but it
is very difficult as the referee usually has to go through a couple of
players in order to get close enough to the net to see the puck at all
REFEREES ARE ONLY HUMAN!
referee’s eyes cannot be exclusively on the puck throughout the game. If
this were the case, players would be taking cheap shots behind the play
and trying to sneak a shot in at another player when the referee wasn’t
looking. It is only natural that the referee may blow the play dead if he
can no longer see the puck, or if he thinks that the goalie has frozen or
covered the puck.
are not only looking at the puck all game, their eyes are surveying the
players at all times and their head is constantly on a swivel trying to
catch players committing penalty infractions.
Even from the stands the parents or fans cannot see the puck at all
times based on their line of sight, so it is not fair to think that
referees can see the puck at all times either.
only way to fix this is to have one referee skate with the play on one
side of the ice, and then have another referee on the other side of the
ice do the same thing. The
side of the ice that the puck is on would be that referee’s
responsibility to blow the whistle. In
essence it would be a modified Two-referee system.
But as with the Two-Referee system currently employed in the NHL,
it is hard for the players to get a feel for what the referee is going to
call because no two referees are the same.
Also, the Minor Hockey level would not be able to financially
support a Two-Referee system without raising registration fees for the
players. Parents would not be
too impressed if this was to occur.